They don't call; they don't even write -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

They don't call; they don't even write -- UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2006 at 3:50 PM

First thing today, we sent an FOI request to the governor's highly paid press secretary, Alice Stewart, for copies of e-mails sent by Republican state treasurer candidate Chris Morris while in the employ of the governor's office that were not related to office business. Democrat-Gazette reporting has suggested that Morris has been separated from the governor's office -- exactly on what terms isn't clear -- for doing campaigning on office machinery and perhaps time.

Can a campaign e-mail be construed as gubernatorial working papers, the stock excuse that the governor's office typically invokes in denying FOI requests? We don't think so. Not that it will stop the Huckster Gang.

Perhaps our lack of a response is because Milton Fine, heretofore the guv's chief legal stooge, has ripped the cord on his golden parachute and now suckles at another government teat over at workers comp, a favorite haven for Huckster hacks. Heck, maybe we haven't gotten a response because Alice has bailed, too. Sightings of Hucksterites glomming onto new public payroll slots are always welcome here.

We renewed our FOI response this afternoon. Still no response from Alice, though the statute requires an answer and requires production of public documents unless they are in active use.

We've sent a query to the D-G on whether they've formally FOI'ed the Morris documents. No response from them yet. We hope so. They can afford the legal help required to fight a lawless, stonewalling governor's office. Eleven weeks of the Huckster to go.

UPDATE: Through the looking glass with Alice in Hucksterland is the response from Kelly Pace, apparently the guv's new chief legal counsel:

I received the e-mail you sent to Alice Stewart this morning requesting  "copies of all Chris Morris' e-mail not related to official gubernatorial duties".  I also received the second e-mail you sent to her at 3:03 pm today as a "reminder".   Your request was pursuant to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act which exempts from disclosure working papers and correspondence of the Governor.  The exemption has been extended to include working papers and correspondence of the Governor's staff as well.  Therefore, your request must be denied.

Two points: 1) I did not ask for "working papers and correspondence of the governor." 2) The "exemption" has been extended by who or what, exactly? No statute or court case has broadened the exception to apply to non-gubernatorial correspondence of staff. The exemption has been extended unilaterally by scofflaws. They tried this unsuccessfully in the case of documents related to the disgraced parole board member, but continue to use the taxpayers' money to bleed the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through fees for an appeal of the lower court ruling.

We call now on the gubernatorial candidates to support a punitive provision in the FOI laws on state officials who use taxpayers' attorneys to force people seeking information to pile up ruinous legal expenses to see public documents. I understand, by the way, that the D-G has sought this same material and more and has been rebuffed on similarly specious grounds.


Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Clarke Tucker challenges French HIll to series of debates

    Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, has called on Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill to reconsider his refusal to participate in a televised debate in September and to join him for a series of three debates.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • Abduction suspect arrested during threatened jump from bridge

    Danny Trent Barrows, 38, wanted for abducting his child earlier in the week, was arrested Wednesday as he attempted to jump off an Interstate 49 bridge near Mountainburg.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • Wage campaign reports financial backer

    Arkansans for a Fair Wage, the committee backing an increase in the state minimum wage, reported this month a $350,000 contribution from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Washington-based nonprofit that has funded advocacy campaigns for social and environmental causes around the country.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation